Fianna Fáil TD for Kerry John Brassil has called on the Government to implement a new scheme to incentivise homeowners currently residing in nursing homes and availing of the Fair Deal scheme to rent out vacant family homes.

Deputy Brassil made the comments after raising a special Dáil debate on the issue with the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy and Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Deputy Brassil, “Kerry is currently experiencing an acute housing shortage which is having a detrimental impact on families. It is leading to increased rents. The knock on effect of this is that people can’t find suitable accommodation and many families are being forced to move away from areas that they have lived in for years.

“I believe the Government should implement a new scheme to incentivise homeowners currently living in nursing homes, and availing of the Fair Deal scheme, to rent out their family home. It makes no sense to have hundreds of vacant houses dotted right across Kerry which would be a perfect family home for people who are currently unable to find accommodation.

“I have been raising the need for such a scheme for many months now. In the last census there were 245,000 vacant properties in Ireland. 62,000 of these are holiday homes, leaving 183,000 vacant properties which could be used to tackle the housing crisis. Unfortunately the Government has completely failed to incentivise homeowners to rent out these vacant properties.

“I have obtained information from the HSE which shows that 14,000 properties are currently in the Fair Deal scheme. Just 600 of these properties are being rented out to date. It’s clear we need a scheme to incentivise Fair Deal participants to rent out their vacant homes.

“Fair Deal participants should feel no pressure to rent out their home and of course some will choose not to. However those that want rent out their vacant home should be facilitated in doing so. It would reduce costs for those facilitating of the Fair Deal scheme and would provide additional housing supply, driving down rents for others. It’s a win – win situation for everyone involved.

“There is now an onus on the Government to bring forward an ambitious scheme as soon as possible. The housing crisis is intensifying by the week.”